Composting In An Old Freezer

My garden just keeps growing each year so my needs for a good quality compost keeps growing larger also. And I'm just not willing to spend all that money the box stores and online sources want for some 10 lb bags (or smaller) of good compost.

So earlier this Summer I heard about building the compost pile in an old chest freezer. The concept seemed like a pretty good idea to me so I decided to try it.

I've had my bin going now for 3 months approximately and the results so far have been spectacular. But you have to remember, that 3 months has been compared to the normal way of building a compost pile out in the 3 bin system. So to me this freezer method sure does have it's advantages.

(I didn't give up on the 3 bin system... as I said I need a lot of compost now)

My worms seem to be happy because their bedding is being broken down and they are delightfully making me the most superior soil I've ever had in my 4 years of gardening.

I've read to expect only having to empty the freezer once a year but there is no way I am going to have to wait that long. Even now, at only 3 months I can tell I have some beautiful composted soil already ready to be harvested at the bottom of my freezer.

So is anyone else doing this? If so, do you have any suggestions for me since this is a complete trial and error process for me. I'm the one who would NEVER touch a worm when I was a kid. Now I've got thousands of them for pets.

I'd appreciate any suggestions you may have because I sure do hope I can make this project stay an ongoing success.


  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    Wow you have great results! How does it look for spring?

    I'm not doing this (yet) but I keep reading about it. My biggest concern is getting in there and mixing or removing, seems to be a daunting task.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭


    It's still a little too early for me to get into full production yet. We are still having too many cold days/colder nights so I have not replenished my worm freezer bed yet for this year. I'm hoping in about another month we should be having tempos consistent enough to keep the worms happy.

    Over the winter it was obvious worms are not happy in colder temps. I insulated the outside of my freezer with cardboard for the winter and then stuffed straw in between all the boxes and the freezer housing. It kept it warm enough in there they did not freeze but it did not keep it warm enough for the continued breakdown into compost from the raw materials.

    So the process has pretty much been on hold for the last 5 months.

    We are supposed to be getting up into the high 50's tomorrow so I was thinking since I am off work tomorrow I just might break the stuff down again and clean out the bottom of the already processed material. There seems to be a little more in the bottom which they have made over the winter months.

    The way I do the clearing out, I just cut my freezer space in half, throw all the unfinished stuff over to the opposite side (on top of the unfinished stuff there) and then use an old flower pot to pull out the stuff which is finished. Then I take everything I put over to the right plus the stuff which is unfinished there and scoop out that side at the bottom. Level everything back off again, refill with fresh materials as needed, clean out my air vents to be sure they are still open so air can get inside and then I add fresh worms if I see it is getting too low.

    Some people try to seperate out all their worms but my philosophy is why bother. I don't mind if my worms get into my garden. They do my soil just as much good from there as they do in the freezer. And worms aren't that expensive so why should I bother trying to keep them all in the chest.

    I am also going to start the little worm towers right in my raised beds this year to see how that works also. It is obviously only a warm/hot weather job but if mastered I can understand how this should be a great help also. So I'll see.

  • spowell07
    spowell07 Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    I have been reading about this for a little while now and so want to give this a go. Is there any advise y’all can give me? Thanks in advance.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    Love this idea! I believe David the Good has done this in the past, too, when he lived in a colder climate. We are in SW CO, and this is something I haven't done yet, but have had in the back of my mind for "one day." I'm so happy you're getting good results with this! :)

  • drpclarke
    drpclarke Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    I have been looking for a freezer that doesn't cost money. The landfill won't let me take any that are thrown away. Does anyone know a good source to find one. My worms have been doing well in plastic bins, but I would like a long term solution to this problem/

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭


    No the landfills are not allowed to let "goods" go back out but what I did is call around to appliance service centers, second hand/thrift stores or any place which ends up with defective goods.

    After all they need to get rid of them and you don't need it working so it's a plus for both of you.

  • Posts: 12 ✭✭✭

    I have wanted to do that for a couple of years. I am always running out of spots for more compost making and endless need for it. I wonder if checking the free section of Craigslist could find a chest freezer that is good candidate for a worm bin. Also Habitat for Humanity might help find one that doesn't work well enough to sell.

  • EarlKelly
    EarlKelly Posts: 230 ✭✭✭

    Another good place to look for a freezer is craigslist. Look for the free header and you will find all kinds of stuff that people put out to get rid of.. you can locate things in your area. Also you can download an app called free stuff. Good luck.